Another brilliant doom metal album in a veritable sea of excess releases. It’s a blessing and a damn shame that 2017 has been so jam-packed with high quality doom because a raised bar means good stuff will get overlooked. It would be fair to say that Monolith Cult’s previous album ‘Run From the Light’ flew under the radar despite being fairly solid epic doom metal along the lines of modern day Candlemass, Solstice and Argus. This follow up shows a general jolt in quality and a generally more comfortable and confident vocal lead. The vocalist’s expression isn’t overdone to the point of polarization but his voice has a big and very ‘heavy metal’ personality and really that could be said of ‘Gospel of Despair’. It feels like big, bold traditional doom metal.
The frothy melodrama of epic doom metal is alive and well in the wailing and chugging guitars that occasionally echo mid-to-late 2000’s Primordial within extended compositions and mournful classic metal riffing. Tracks like “King of all That’s Lost” feature riffs that recall the best of Warning but again with that serious ‘true’ metal feeling instead of shoegaze or whatever. “Complicit in Your Own Abuse” is an absolute church-burner and the arrangement channels a modernized vision of Paradise Lost‘s mid-90’s move away from death metal towards pure doom. While this album’s value isn’t entirely held in the things I’d compare it to, the lack of general variety in tone and approach does make it a sort of genre entry ‘for fans of’ and might come across as average on first impression.
For what it’s worth I think Monolith Cult have proven themselves an above average doom metal band on this second record. I could ask for a more varied approach to songwriting or some minimal pacing changes would be great. But hey whatever, those are gripes folks have with every metal release ever and there’s no crime in being a focused genre-specific metal band. ‘Gospel of Despair’ is a restless, down-trodden collection of doom spirituals that confidently disproves any remaining hope in the listener. A highly successful 43 minutes of clobbering life’s resignation with impossibly weighty riffing.
|Released||November 17, 2017|
|Listen on Spotify!||Follow Monolith Cult on Facebook|
Tomorrow always seems the same. 3.85/5.0
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